Tips on Flight Permits/PPRs for France
This is a post by author Sandrine Jackson. Sandrine is managing director for Universal Aviation France – Paris. Sandrine is an expert on business aircraft operations in France and can be contacted at email@example.com.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in France and continues from our last article: "Tips on Airport Operations for France – Fuel, Additional Services and Security."
Prior Permission Required (PPR) is needed for some locations in France. While landing permits are only necessary for charter (non-scheduled commercial) and experimental aircraft operations, there are restrictions, lead times and operating limitations to consider. If this is your first charter operation to France, give yourself sufficient lead time to assemble required documentation. Work with your 3rd-party provider to determine any applicable cabotage restrictions, as cabotage can have serious consequences when operating in France.
1. Know PPR needs for France
A PPR is needed for certain airports in France. PPRs are often related to airport parking availability. Some PPR requirements are seasonal or only in effect during special event periods. PPR requests are usually made by ground handlers to local airport authorities, or the Chamber of Commerce at some smaller regional airports. Once a schedule is in place, requests should be submitted as soon as possible. Be sure to include full operator and aircraft information. The PPR confirmation number should be placed in remarks section 18 of the flight plan.
2. Landing permits are only required for charter and experimental aircraft operations
All charter operators must have a landing permit to operate to France, or aircraft may be grounded and impounded. The official permit lead time is five business days, and France does not process routine landing permit requests on weekends or holidays. The process goes faster if you’ve operated a charter to France before and if your completed "technical questionnaire" is on file.
3. Be aware of documents required for landing permits
All required documents must be submitted together and must indicate the same operator name or some documentation linking the documents to the operator. If different documents are submitted at different times, there may be delays. All operators must confirm that they have in place an approved aviation Safety Management System (SMS), which will be verified if you’re ever ramp-checked in France. It’s not necessary to indicate the permit number on the flight plan, as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will notify customs officials in advance, but it’s best to carry permit confirmation with you, as customs officials may ask to see a copy.
4. Know the process for arranging landing permits
With the permit request, you’ll need to submit the full schedule, operator and aircraft details, crew and passenger information, the air operator certificate (AOC), appropriate European Union (EU) insurance and a technical questionnaire (up to 40 pages.) For a new charter operator to France, CAA’s technical department will process your questionnaire and communicate directly with you regarding any questions they may have. Once approved, it will be given to the permit approval department to process the rest of the permit request. If your questionnaire is on file from a previous charter application, you will not need to re-submit, unless there have been changes (e.g., in aircraft equipment) requiring the form to be updated. The permit approval department will process the request and approve it if all is in order. CAA’s preferred means of communications is fax followed by a phone call. However, it’s always best to e-mail clear copies of all documents to your 3rd-party provider or ground handler.
5. EU-based charter operators may not need landing permits
No landing permit is needed for intra-Europe operation of EU-registered charter aircraft. A permit is required, however, if you’re operating an international charter leg inbound or outbound from France with EU-registered aircraft. In this case, EU-registered operators will require the same documentation and process as for non-EU registered aircraft.
6. Be aware of cabotage restrictions
French authorities pay close attention to cabotage, the transport of EU residents within the EU aboard non-EU-registered aircraft. Fines and seizures have occurred in cases of non-compliant operators. Private non-revenue flights may transport family members or employees, but any other EU residents should be confirmed in advance with CAA. Charter operators may only transport passengers listed on the landing permit. If there is a passenger change, the landing permit needs to be revised.
7. Understand permit validity and costs
Landing permits in France have validities of +/- 72 hours. Any schedule change beyond that window requires re-confirmation of your landing permit. Normally, you are able to re-confirm a permit within 24 hours if you make your request during regular CAA weekday hours (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) A new landing permit will be necessary if you change or add destinations within France. There are no government charges for permits in France, with the exception of experimental aircraft overflight or landing permits. Your ground handler, however, may charge a small fixed fee to assist with permit applications.
Applying for a charter landing permit for France may seem arduous, but it’s actually a manageable process when working with an experienced 3rd-party provider. Give yourself sufficient lead time to set up required permits and avoid potential cabotage pitfalls by revising your charter permit whenever new passengers are added to the manifest.
If you have any questions about this article, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Later, we’ll discuss airport slots for France and their impact on your trip.